Not so long ago this management lark was a breeze for Mick Tait.

The assistant boss's ascension to caretaker just over two months ago had brought with it a new air of optimism to a beleaguered Quakers side at its lowest ebb.

Tait instilled some much-needed confidence into a team which had previously won just three of its first 13 league games under Tommy Taylor.

Having celebrated his first game in charge in style, with the 4-0 demolition of Exeter, followed by just one defeat in 11, Quakers could do no wrong under Tait, whose aspirations to land the job permanently were looking all the more rosy.

Now Tait faces his ultimate challenge yet after seeing his side crash out of the FA Cup to non-league Farnborough Town.

And now, with the FA Cup run over, Quakers face a difficult spell in the League, because the next five games are against promotion chasing sides.

They go to Oxford on Saturday, before facing Kidderminster, Torquay, Cambridge and Rushden.

"Everything that we've done for two months went out of the window," sighed Tait. "I'm lost for words really after losing a game like that."

The simple fact was Farnborough wanted to win the game more.

They showed all the passion and commitment which typifies the FA Cup - a factor Quakers sadly lacked and ultimately paid for.

Perhaps if they had matched their part-time opponents in that department then today's fourth round draw may have had a little bit more meaning.

"We've got the ability to win matches like that but I don't think we had the commitment," said Tait.

"Every other game we've fought with the opposition and we just didn't do that. We were second to the ball, never won a header and that set the tone of the game.

"It was a big game for us and we just weren't up to the job."

Teacher Danny Carroll grabbed two of Farnborough's goals and he beamed afterwards: ''It's an absolute dream come true.

''We had to win - or the kids would have made my life hell when I get back to school on Monday."

Andy Collett returned to the squad after a six-week absence with a rib injury, but had to settle for a place on the bench with Chris Porter returning to the side at the expense of on-loan keeper Sam Russell.

There was also a start for Ian Clarkn who came in for the suspended Barry Conlon, serving the first of a three-match ban after his sending off against Macclesfield.

On a bitterly cold afternoon it was the visitors who signalled their intentions early on with former Peterborough striker Ken Charlery and ex-Luton man Rocky Baptiste leading the attack for the club who took West Ham to a FA Cup replay in 1992.

Baptiste, who has earned himself the reputation of being one of the most exciting strikers outside league football, showed just why after ten minutes when he headed home Gary Holloway's cross after Quakers failed to clear their lines.

Baptiste's strike sent the visiting fans into a frenzy, although their celebrations were to last for just three minutes as Quakers hit back through Ashley Nicholls.

He netted his second goal in as many games, heading past Tony Pennock from close range after good work down the left by Richard Hodgson.

Moments later skipper Craig Liddle almost put his side in front when he headed over the crossbar from Hodgson's cross.

With only 19 minutes on the clock the game produced it's third goal as the visitors restored their lead through midfielder Carroll.

Once again it was a header and once again the Quakers defence decided to stand off, allowing Michael Warner to get a cross in for Carroll, who made no mistake from six yards out.

Two minutes later Farnborough should have made it three when Baptiste was allowed all the time in the world after beating the offside trap, only to sweep his shot wide of Porter's goal.

Having defended for the majority of the first half Quakers stepped up a gear to finish the opening period with a flourish.

First Simon Betts tried his luck from 35 yards out, forcing Pennock to tip over.

And from the resulting corner the ball eventually fell out to Neil Wainwright on the edge of the box, who cut inside before testing Pennock with a stinging drive which the keeper could only parry away.

Their persistence eventually paid off and they drew level for the second time in the game through Clark, back in the side after a six-game absence.

Wainwright broke free down the right before crossing for the former Hartlepool man who stretched to head past Pennock.

Quakers continued to lay siege on the Farnborough goal with Liddle striking the bar twice with headers and Richard Offiong seeing his shot from the right come back off the post.

But it was Farnborough who found the net for a third time and this time it proved decisive.

A cross from Holloway was helped on by Charlery and Carroll was on hand at the back post to smash home his second.

Not for the first time Quakers were left chasing the game but without the physical presence of Conlon, any last ditch efforts to get back into the game were snuffed out by a hard-working Farnborough defence.

Result: Darlington 2 Farnborough Town 3.

Read more about the Quakers here.